Winning product: ‘4 in 1’ kiddie pack
Best Kids Kit/Service or Catering
INTEX won the 2016 Onboard Hospitality Award for Best Kids Kit/Service or Catering, for the Icelandair ‘4 in1’ kiddie pack. Debbie Petch, commercial manager at Intex talks us through their product innovation…
Q.How do you and your team get your inspiration for new products?
A. Intex supplies retailers and hotels worldwide as well as airlines and the travel industry, and we get a lot of ideas and inspiration from the retail market in particular which is fast moving and on trend. Our product development team also attends textile exhibitions and is constantly in contact with suppliers to see what’s new and if it can be adapted for use in our industry. Being based in Huangzhou, one of the major textile producing areas in China helps too.
Q.How did this product come into your range and why?
A. We worked with Icelandair on some of their textile products and they mentioned they would like a gift for their younger passengers. The original concept was that of a cape/blanket that each child would be given on transatlantic routes. But that concept evolved into the kiddie pack – a product that can serve as a bag, an amenity pack, a blanket, a pillow or a ‘super hero’ cape.
Q.Are airlines looking for innovations for children?
A. The market is incredibly competitive and price is always key but airlines like to differentiate themselves and try and remain ahead so they are always open to new ideas and innovations. Happy children onboard of course mean happy passengers in general and anything that can keep children occupied onboard is always welcome. We expect the market to further develop to include products that can be used in conjunction with tablets and laptops as almost all children nowadays travel have these in one form or another.
Q.Have you managed to get the product onboard any airlines?
A. Several airlines expressed an interest in the product but we have to wait for current contracts to expire before any of them can consider the product seriously.
Q.What exciting project/trend are you responding to next?
A. We are currently working on ensuring our core products, ie textiles and non wovens, are manufactured and produced in as sustainable a way as possible. The travel market is becomingly increasingly interested in making sure that products are produced sustainably and our retail customers in particular are really pushing for this as consumers become more and more interested in the environment and how the products they buy have an impact on it. This is the main focus of all our airline product development at the moment and where we believe we can really make use of our retail knowledge and experience to bring new and exciting innovations to our airline customers. It is not a simple process however, we have to be sure that what we present to our customers will work in practice – fabrics that can be washed once a week at home in the average household washing machine will not always withstand the intense stress they are put under in commercial laundries.
Q.How has winning an Onboard Hospitality Award helped your business?
A. Intex, is relatively new as a direct supplier to the airline industry and has been supplying products through agents for many years but being involved in the Onboard Hospitality Awards certainly increased our visibility amongst our customer base. The awards ceremony, held just before WTCE, was particularly valuable to us. Being awarded the prize resulted in several key potential customers coming over to congratulate us and to visiting our stand at the show itself. Icelandair of course was also delighted to see the product win.